You may have heard the terms: Part B giveback, reduction or rebate. Do you know what that means or how it works for your clients?
The give-back benefit is another term for Part B premium reduction. This is when a Medicare Advantage plan reduces the amount your client pays towards their Part B monthly premium. These givebacks are offered by some Medicare Advantage plans and are designed to make plans even MORE affordable. The amount of the givebacks can range depending upon the plan and location. They can be as low as $20 and some plans offer more than $100 in giveback rebates.
How it Works:
If a beneficiary is on Social Security, the Part B premium comes out of their monthly benefit before it hits their bank account OR it's reflected in their monthly check. The giveback reduces their Part B premium, which means more money ends up in the individual’s bank account.
If your client pays their Part B premium directly (not by automatic Social Security check deduction), their Part B premium statement will be updated with the giveback amount credited to what they owe. The standard Part B premium for 2021 is $148.50. This amount changes yearly and is based on income. Learn more.
If a beneficiary's monthly Social Security check is normally $1600 and their giveback is $100, their Social Security benefit will now be $1700. If they pay the standard Part B premium ($148.50) the amount they will owe after receiving the giveback will be $48.50.
Part B givebacks can offer Medicare beneficiaries yet another way to save money by choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.
To be eligible for this program your client must be responsible for paying their own Part B premium, which means they are NOT eligible to receive Medicaid or participate in a Medicare Savings Plan.
As always, it's important to make sure the Medicare Advantage plan fits your client's needs and budget. It's also crucial to make sure it includes access to the doctors and hospitals they need, as well as making sure their prescription drugs are on the plan’s formulary.
The Annual Enrollment Period which occurs every fall is right around the corner. October 15th kicks off the beginning of that window when your clients can make changes to their Medicare Advantage plans. So now is the time to go through our AEP checklist to ensure you're ready for the busiest time of year. Whether you're selling Medicare Advantage products, Prescription Drug Plans, Medicare Supplement products or any combination of the three, being prepared is your best asset. Below we'll go over our AEP checklist as well as review what your clients can do during the Annual Enrollment Period which ends on December 7th.
What can your clients do during AEP?
1. Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan (or vice versa)
2. Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
3. Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn't have drug coverage to one that does offer drug coverage (or vice versa)
4. Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP)
5. Switch from one Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) to another PDP
6. Drop Medicare Prescription Drug coverage completely
There are many scenarios that can play out during AEP and it's in your best interest to review your clients' policies with them to ensure they have appropriate coverage for the coming year. Many of your clients may want to review their Medicare Supplement plans during this time as well, and it's the perfect time to do so.
If you need to finish any contracting you may have started, complete it and review any carriers you wish to add. Carriers have blackout dates where you can no longer move your contract. You can review our carrier black out dates on our AEP page.
2. AHIP Training
Be sure to complete your AHIP training. Many carriers offer discounts, but you must access the training through the carriers' agent websites to receive that discount.
3. Product Training
Login to agent sites and complete all product training. You'll get notified by the carrier when you’re eligible to being selling. Watch your Inbox carefully.
Login to MedicareCENTER and get familiar with all the new tools available. Upload and update your clients in the CRM and review the training and best practices guides.
5. Electronic Applications
Familiarize yourself with electronic applications now (before the rush). This will make them much easier to complete. You can download carrier e-App training guides from our Electronics App page.
6. Order Supplies & Materials
Order any supplies you may need from your carriers directly, and be sure to request our complimentary*, branded marketing materials to help you promote yourself.
Make sure you're ready to go and have everything you need to make this your most successful AEP yet. We're here to help you succeed and are always available to assist you with your AEP strategy.
*Must be a contracted producer to qualify for our complimentary marketing materials.
Baby Boomers love Facebook and thanks to the pandemic more seniors are hanging out on there than ever before. If you're selling Medicare solutions to seniors and you're not using Facebook as a marketing tool, you're missing out. Sharing relevant content consistently and running targeted ads is an easy and economical way to get more leads. Ready to learn more?
Facebook's advertising process is straight forward and easy to work with. You must have a Facebook business page set up first. If you don't have a business page, it's easy to get that set up too. Once you have that up and running you can start advertising your insurance services. To run an ad, you're stepped through a series of questions which will determine what type of ad you want to run. You then upload your ad content, determine the audience, the price you want to pay and the duration of your ad. Once you finish that quick process, you then submit your ad for approval and within 24 hours (sometimes even sooner) you get an email alerting you to the status of your ad. Once approved your ad runs for the length you determined and will even cross post on Instagram if you have a professional Instagram account set up.
Running targeted ads on Facebook is easy and economical.
Still unsure? Feel free to download our Facebook Ads Quick Start Guide to walk you through the process. Screen shots and step-by step instructions will show you exactly what you need to do to target a specific audience in your preferred geographic area, and it will even show you how to drill down to target leads with certain life events or interests. This type of targeting will ensure your ad is being shown to the people you want to see it.
So now that you have an ad running, when will you start seeing leads? After your ad begins running, you can track and manage leads through the Facebook Ads Manager which shows you when someone has responded to your ad. It will give you a plethora of other statistics too, but for the sake of keeping this blog post simple, we'll focus on the main goal: leads! You download them via an Excel file and the important thing to remember is that you need to login daily to check for leads. Facebook will not email you when you receive new leads. So make it a habit to login to the Ads Manager to track them and download them.
What if you don't get any leads from your first ad? Don't despair. Much of marketing is based on A/B testing. And what that means is you have to test out your ad, just as marketers do to see what type of ad content resonates with their targeted audience. The fact that Facebook makes advertising economical and you don't have to pour thousands of dollars into an ad campaign, allows you to test your ads and tweak them when necessary. Marketing has many nuances to it, and lead nurturing can take time. But if you're willing to put in a bit of effort and take the plunge, you will see proven results.
A/B testing allows you to test out your ad content to see what resonates with your audience.
Hands down, Facebook advertising is the fastest and easiest way to get leads quickly. It's not a complicated process and it won't break the bank. Buying expensive leads from lead vendors can quickly add up, so if you haven't spent the time to learn how to advertise on Facebook, dedicate a couple hours to setting up your business page, creating ad content (or if you're one of our contracted agents, we'll create ad content for you) and go through the process of submitting your first ad. You'll be happy you did once those leads start filtering in.
Every year between October 15th and December 7th Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to make changes to their existing policies and change their benefits with regard to Medicare Supplement plans, Medicare Advantage plans and Prescription Drug plans. It can be an overwhelming time for seniors as they sift through all the literature that has been mailed to them, and all the plans they've been researching online.
Your clients should have received their 'Annual Notice of Change' from their insurance company. This notice will list any changes in their policy, such as possible increase in costs or coverage. The notice should compare the benefits they currently have and what they will be in 2020. Their prescription drug plans should also be reviewed at this time of year to ensure that their medications will still be covered.
As their insurance agent, you can assist them with making the best decision regarding their policies for the next year or even longer. We've laid out everything your clients can do during this enrollment period below.
So what exactly can your clients do?
There are so many options for your clients, and it can be a daunting process to assist them with their choices, but utilizing our tools and resources will help make the process smoother. Some of these tools include using our rate and underwriting tool which will allow you to cost compare Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans for them. If you don't have access to our Resource for Rates tool, you can request access and receive a 30 day trial. Our contracted agents always have full access to this tool. It's also available as an app in the App Store and on Google Play. Use your login credentials for the desktop version to access quotes on the go.
Reviewing our new Medicare & Part D Plan Finder guide will help you if you're not AHIP certified and selling prescription drug plans to your clients. It's a step-by-step guide to the newly launched site on Medicare.gov. The new plan finder has a much simpler, and user-friendly interface; however, it does encourage Medicare beneficiaries to create a My Medicare account and to login with their credentials so they can save their prescriptions. It is not necessary to have them create an account if they do not wish to; you'll still be able to assist them with their drug choices.
In some cases, your clients may already have the best plans, and they won't need to do a thing. However, this is your opportunity to review their policies and determine if they'd be better off with another plan. It also provides the opportunity to open up the discussion about other types of insurance they may need.
Reminding your prospects that using your services doesn’t cost them a dime is something that may slip your mind. When seniors are overwhelmed with phone calls and postcards before their 65th birthday, they go to the internet to research their Medicare options. And as you know, many seniors purchase their policies online directly from the carrier without any real guidance.
There is no fee for using a reputable, knowledgeable insurance agent to guide you to the best insurance decision
This one crucial element can help you secure more clients in that it shows them your value. Seniors are overwhelmed by the amount of information available to them on the topic of Medicare. And it’s not an easy topic to understand. There are so many nuances when it comes to understanding the intricacies of Medicare and the different parts, deductibles and options available to cover gaps.
Your value is that you can explain Medicare in layman’s terms and research the best options for your clients based on their health, age and state of residence. Choosing the wrong plan with a fly by night carrier is a recipe for disaster. Seniors need to understand that Medicare is not like employee-based coverage. Helping your clients and prospects understand Parts A, B, C and D is the value you bring.
Many seniors are apt to dive into a Medicare Advantage plan because of the cost savings. However, if their health takes a turn for the worse, or their network pulls out of their county, they’re in big trouble. Explaining the differences between Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Supplement plans is a huge value add. For some, the cost savings is paramount on a fixed income, and a supplement plan is not a viable option. But for those who can afford it? Explaining that they can use any doctor or hospital they choose without being confined to a network is peace of mind for the premium they’ll pay.
The next time you approach a prospect, remind them that prices for Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plans are set. There is no additional fee by using your services. It may well be the deciding factor for them.
Carolyn Portanova is the Director of Marketing at The Brokerage Resource and has been with the firm since 2012.